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September 9, 2015

9 Sep 9: Battle of the Teutoberg Forest

On this day in 9 A.D., a Germanic alliance led by Arminius ravaged three Roman legions at the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest. (This is another year I suggest you commit to memory.)

Caesar Augustus had begun to conquer Magna Germania, the area east of the Rhine, in 12 B.C. In a sign of good faith, a chief of one of the Germanic tribes sent his son Arminius to Rome as a hostage.

1909 rendering of the battle.

Arminius had returned to his homeland by 9 A.D., when Rome was trying to more fully assimilate the Germanic peoples into their new empire. It didn’t go too well.

Basically, the Romans were unfamiliar with the territory and failed to do proper reconnaissance, walking them straight into several ambushes. It also hurt that Arminius had been trained in the military arts during his time in Rome, meaning he was very familiar with his opponents’ tactics.

Augustus withdrew his troops from Magna Germania, and the Roman Empire would never again try to conquer the region.

For potential purposes of recognition, here is a list of the Germanic tribes involved:

  • Bructeri
  • Chatti
  • Chauci
  • Cherusci
  • Marsi
  • Sicambri

Because the Romans were led by Publius Quinctilius Varus, who was one of the 20,000 killed on that side, the event is also known as the Varian disaster.

Image: Peter Janssen (1844–1908)

One Comment
  1. Chuck C permalink

    And, more importantly, 9/9/99 was the launch of the Dreamcast. :)

    And is it just me, or do all the German tribes sound Italian?

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